(week 40/11)
Olubi Johnson

Matthew 19:3-12 KJV: The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?  (4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,  (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?  (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.  (7) They say unto him, why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?  (8) He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.  (9) And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.  (10) His disciples say unto him, if the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.  (11) But he said unto them, all men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.  (12) For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it let him receive it.

Here the Lord teaches about divorce, adultery and fornication.

For the New Testament Christian, it is NOT the will of God for us to divorce except in the following cases:

1. Adultery or fornication by either spouse (especially if they are unrepentant and continue in it). This is to protect the innocent spouse and un-born children from sexual transmitted diseases (especially AIDS in this end-time (Rom. 1:26-27; 2 Tim. 3:1, 3))

2. Where the spouse is either an unbeliever or an unfaithful Christian who chooses to leave his or her spouse:

1Corinthians 7:13-15 NIV: and if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  (14) For the unbelieving (the Greek word here is ‘apistos’ which means unfaithful) husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  (15) But if the unbeliever (or the unfaithful) leaves, let him do so. A believing (or faithful) man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

It is instructive to observe that in the case where a spouse is divorced, either because of adultery or willful desertion, the Lord does NOT permit any other Christian to marry them: they are isolated as far as marriage is concerned from the rest of the body of Christ unless and until they fully repent and their former spouses are remarried or will not take them back or are dead.

While adultery is not the unpardonable sin, God has made the consequence for divorce and adultery very severe (Rom. 11:22) to discourage Christians from adultery, fornication and divorce.

It is sad that today so many Christians divorce for reasons other than the above and so are making ship-wrecks (1 Tim. 1.19) of their divine destinies.

God wants us to avoid adultery and divorce because it dishonors God in the sight of the world (2 Sam. 12:14), destroys our physical bodies sometimes causing pre-mature physical death (1 Cor. 6:18, 1 Kings. 1:1-4)and so can adversely and in some cases irreversibly affect our divine destinies and those of our children:

Malachi 2:14-16 AMP: Yet you ask, why does He reject it? Because the Lord was witness [to the covenant made at your marriage] between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously and to whom you were faithless. Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant [made by your marriage vows].  (15) And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not One make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth. (16) …Therefore,keep a watch upon your spirit [that it may be controlled by My Spirit], that you deal not treacherously and faithlessly [with your marriage mate].

We see this infamously exemplified in the life of David, when he committed adultery and murder and it affected him and his children:

2Samuel 12:9-12 KJV: Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.  (10) Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.  (11) Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.  (12) For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.

The effect of this sin did not allow David to live long enough to build the temple (1 Kings 1: 1-4; 1 Chr. 22: 7-8); it also affected his children: Ammon  (2 Sam. 13: 1-39), Absalom (2 Sam. 16:22), Adonijah (1 Kings. 1.17-25) and even Solomon(who could not control his desire for strange women who ultimately turned his heart away from serving the true God (2 Kings 11:1-4)).

In our article next week, we will see how to overcome and avoid divorce, adultery and fornication.